Glink, Gweb and the Chinese character sets

At the request of a GCOS7 customer we and Bull working in cooperation added support for the GCOS7 Chinese character set to Glink for the Release 7.3 beta, and it is now in test at the customer site. 

Glink previously supported Japanese for mainframe systems using the Shift-JIS Japanese character set. The Chinese character set used by GCOS7, like Shift-JIS, is a dual-byte character set, each Chinese character is represented by two bytes in GCOS7 data files, over the line to Glink and internally within Glink.

Now that the dual-byte infrastructure is in place within Glink, we would like to extend the DBCS (Dual-Byte Character Set) handling to the 3270 emulation, to make Glink a viable tool for Chinese/Japanese customers using IBM mainframes. The IBM mainframes use 'legacy' dual-byte EBCDIC character sets for Chinese/ Japanese. After considerable research we believe that we are in a position to implement support for some or all of the variations. We are looking for customers or prospects who use Chinese (or Japanese) on IBM mainframes, and who would like to cooperate with us by carrying out some simple tests and tracing.

If you are, or know of, such a customer or prospect for Glink with Chinese/Japanese support in the 3270 emulation, or if you know of publically available mainframe systems that display Chinese/Japanese 3270 screens, please contact Jim Gallagher at the Demonstration support address.

The Chinese support implemented in Glink will be ported into the next release of GlinkWeb and Gweb, making Chinese mainframe applications available to users with nothing more than a browser on their desktop.

Some technical details

The Bull Chinese character set is GB2312 (GB is Guo Biao, a government standard), but this ASCII character set is mapped into EBCDIC on the Bull GCOS7 systems. GB2312 is known as 'Simplified Chinese' and used in the People's Republic of China (PRC, Mainland China).

IBM has (or had) two EBCDIC Chinese character sets, one for the People's Republic, and one for the Republic of China (ROC):

  • CCSID935 Simplified Chinese, PRC
  • CCSID937 Traditional Chinese ROC (Taiwan)

CCSID935 has been replaced by CCSID1388 which extends it to cover the Chinese characters from the 'Big 5' character set, which was favoured by Taiwan. We are hoping that we need only support CCSID1388, but we will obviously find this out as soon as we meet users with real Chinese mainframe applications.

The Chinese character set available in Windows is MS936 which is GBK (Guo Biao Kuozhan) which includes all the traditional Chinese characters defined in Big 5 and is synchronized with the Unicode standard, version 1.1.

The support we need to implement in Glink is the mapping of the EBCDIC DBCS into MS936 for use internally in Glink. When Glink delivers any DBCS to other Windows functions (Copy/Paste, Print) it uses Unicode.

You do NOT need to be a specialist to assist us in the implementation of Chinese support in Glink/3270. We will provide the expertise. All we need is for you to carry out some practical testing with a beta of Glink and your 'real' Chinese mainframe 3270 applications.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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